Four amnesty proposals included in the Democrat’s $3.5 trillion budget bill faced a major test on Friday. The Senate parliamentarian held a formal hearing on 9/10 to discuss provisions in the $3.5 trillion budget bill that would provide amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
The $3.5 trillion package would provide amnesty to four different groups of non-citizens: Illegals who were granted “Temporary Protected Status”, so-called “Dreamers” that were brought to the United States as children by their illegal parents, illegals who have been hired by farm companies, and illegals who were given jobs in sectors that the government deems “critical”. The current provisions would give a pathway to citizenship to over 4.4 million non-citizens. This is over 30% of the approximately 14.5 million illegal immigrants currently estimated to be in America. The total estimated cost of providing legal status to the above illegal immigrants is $107 billion.
The move comes as approximately 8.4 million Americans are currently unemployed. Furthermore, as Democrats attempt to legalize millions of non-citizens, record numbers of illegal immigrants continue to cross America’s southern border with Mexico each day. Since Joe Biden was inaugurated just eight months ago, over 1 million people have illegally crossed over America’s southern border. In July alone, at least 212,672 non-citizens illegally crossed into America, the most illegal border crossings in 21 years.
Democrats are attempting to pass their $3.5 trillion spending bill via budget reconciliation. Bills can only be considered for the budget reconciliation process if they impact federal spending or revenue. Bills processed under budget reconciliation must also adhere to a strict set of rules. The inclusion of amnesty for non-citizens in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package likely violates the Senate’s “Byrd rule”. According to the rule, “extraneous” provisions can not be included in budget reconciliation bills. According to Section 313 (b)(1) of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, a provision is considered extraneous if:
- “If such provision does not produce a change in outlays or revenue, including changes in outlays and revenues brought about by changes in the terms and conditions under which outlays are made or revenues are required to be collected.”
- “If the net effect of provisions reported by the Committee reporting the title containing the provision is that the Committee fails to achieve its reconciliation instructions.”
- If the provision “is not in the jurisdiction of the Committee with jurisdiction over said title or provision.”
- “If it produces changes in outlays or revenues which are merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision.”
- “If it increases, or would increase, net outlays, or if it decreases, or would decrease, revenues during a fiscal year after the fiscal years covered by such reconciliation bill or reconciliation resolution, and such increases or decreases are greater than outlay reductions or revenue increases resulting from other provisions in such title in such year.”
- If the provision “contains recommendations with respect to the old-age, survivors, and disability insurance program established under title II of the Social Security Act.”
So far, opposition from Senate Republicans to the Democrats’ push for amnesty has been lackluster. This is largely due to many top GOP donors gushing over the idea of an influx of migrants that will provide them with cheaper labor and more taxpayer-subsidized consumers. Still, Republicans will have the opportunity to use the hearing with Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough to voice their objections to extraneous Democrat proposals.
Senate parliamentarian MacDonough’s decision is critical. If MacDonough rules in favor of the Democrats and allows citizenship for millions of non-citizens to be included in the package, Democrats will be able to pass the bill with just 50 Senators and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. If MacDonough rules that the amnesty provisions can not be included in the bill, it is likely to squash congressional Democrat efforts to supply amnesty to non-citizens in 2021.
It is currently unclear who the Senate parliamentarian will side with since MacDonough has recently blocked policy priorities from both parties from being included in reconciliation bills. In 2017, MacDonough blocked parts of a Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as part of reconciliation, despite the fact that Democrats in Congress used the reconciliation process to enact the law, to begin with. Additionally, MacDonough blocked Democrats from including a provision that would have increased the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 earlier this year.
Democrats are clearly violating the Byrd rule by attempting to extraneously provide citizenship to millions of non-citizens as part of a budget reconciliation bill. Hopefully, Senate parliamentarian MacDonough will make the right decision and block the Democrats from violating even more rules than they already have.